May 20, 2022

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What is the use of teaching English in primary school?



Classroom


© JEFF PACHOUD / AFP
Classroom

Series “These Items in School at Debate” (1/3) – In elementary school, teaching English is above all aimed at raising sounds rather than giving children a real linguistic background. However, if teachers are trained and trained, learning will be more effective for them.

Should English teaching in primary school be reduced or banned? This is the choice of the opinion candidate Eric Zemmerwho Said on January 10th French and English should be removed in favor of computation. Not too far from the will Marine Le Pen, Which recommends more hours in elementary school in French, math and history. What revives the old emotional debate surrounding where a foreign language should be taught in school. In 2016, the question was posed in other words: the question of whether it should be taught mother language Students with families from diaspora backgrounds. Have the right Rebel Against this idea, the PS accuses it of being communism. “English is a compulsory language in primary school,” they said Bruno Mayor Before adding it, “learning to master French” was paramount.

Except that French school students already have a greater number of hourly language lessons than most children in the OECD, 54 hours per year in elementary school, 1h30 per week. Learning from CP started in 2016. However, France has one of the worst language learning skills in Europe: Recent EF English Scholarship Index Global Rankings, Which ranks 31st out of 35 European countries. In 2018, a report submitted by Inspector Chandel Manes and British journalist Alex Taylor to National Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanker recommended the emphasis on verbal and sports activities eleven years ago. Results, Jean-Michel Blanker English returned Is mandatory A coding measure because only 0.7% of students from CP did not implement it at the time.

“A language, it lives, it is spoken”

For now, Gilles Demarquet, president of the Association of Parents of Free Education Students (Apel), explains that the main purpose of English in elementary education is to “raise students’ voices” and not to bring in “real linguistic stuff”. Recalling that “the child must first master his mother tongue”, he hopes that early learning of English will open the door to other cultures. “A language, it lives, it is spoken,” he adds. So, break out of the educational tradition of teaching and pave the way for verbal: “You have to teach kids to talk and make mistakes” explains the Apple leader. Sophie Rosenberg says children are more receptive to sounds, especially before the age of ten. Specialist in Early English Learning. “After that age, they cover themselves for anything other than their mother tongue,” he notes. According to her, children need to acquire the basics of phonetics and phonetics in elementary school through nursery rhymes or skits. “Everything is played at this age,” she insists. Learning to write should come later in college.

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Learn English to think about French

Video: Education: Should Mathematics Be Compulsory in High School? (Le Figaro)

Education: Should Mathematics Be Compulsory in High School?

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A similar argument was made with Icaderini Ginieri, a schoolteacher who is a member of the National Union of Teachers and School Teachers (SNUipp-FSU). According to her, learning a language is first done through “enrichment”. For greater efficiency, he recommends splitting one and a half hours per week into several twenty-minute sessions. In addition to raising voices, early learning, according to her, makes it a habit to “speak in front of an audience.” Laure Guézennec, a school director in Gironde, says it is not possible to go against social change by suppressing the learning of English used for job search: “We train future citizens in school”.

Gilles Forlot, a professor of sociology and linguistics, argues in favor of language, “this is wrong, not a discipline against one another,” for fears that hours of French and mathematics will be ignored. Contrary to Zemmourian rhetoric, he argues, education should be conducted in an “integrated” manner. In other words, learning of different subjects is done in parallel. Working instead of an adjective in English, for example, reflects its place in the French language. English also helps to absorb mathematical concepts. “When you learn English, you go through abstraction and subtraction, which are useful concepts for calculation,” Sophie Rosenberg agrees.

What about our European neighbors?

However, according to international rankings, France still has a lot to offer in teaching English at school. In Germany, ranked 11th in the EF English Scholarship Index world rankings, the focus has been on speaking for many years. Florence Batonnier, communications manager at the Franco-German Office for Youth, explained that “German students are being expelled from campuses” while French students are “always heard to be not good at languages”. with franceinfo. “The essence of language lessons is dialogue. It has more verbal access than France, ”he added. The Norwegians, who are known to be very proficient in English, have been learning English since 1997 at the age of six. During lessons, students often watch movies and TV shows in their original version.

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Lack of teacher training, lack of tools

In 2018 Jean-Michel Blanker is going in the right direction for more verbally inspired breathing. Problem: At that time, additional evidence was needed in the report submitted to the Minister of National Education. Four years later, they are still waiting. “If we highlight the dimension of communication, we need more early and continuous training,” criticizes Jean-Marc Marx, federal secretary of the National Union for National Education, Sgen-CFDT, “Many teachers complain about lack of training. , Some teachers even skip the compulsory English teaching period in elementary school. “The 18 hours of teacher training focus on French and math, which makes teachers train alone. , Condemns “strong pressure” on teachers who are “tired” of being “everywhere at the same time.” The other problem comes from the lack of educational tools available to teachers. ” They learn in the middle, but there is no guidance. This is the school of resources, “said Laurie Kusenek, the school’s director. The number of students per class – about thirty on average – “does not promote optimal learning”.

A popular paradox of learning English in France

According to Gilles Forlot, the critiques that explain the “popular contradictions” in learning English in France are: “We expect a university student to know how to write, but we ask the teacher to teach the student the sounds without training. Teachers are asked to give priority to the French language while giving priority to … The professor of linguistics recalls that “in France there is a resistance to English, which is detrimental to the phonograph.” The image of the British language threatening the French language hinders its learning.

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